Orange wine is a personal favourite. It’s complex & interesting. After every sip, it leaves you wanting more, more, more.

Now, I must say, for this post I did LOTS of research back to that wine bar and trying more and more orange wine. It’s a really tough job, I must admit, but duty calls so let’s fill the glass and get on with it!

Basically, if rosé is summer water, well orange wine shall claim fall & winter.

Consider serving orange wine for your holiday feasts! Not only is it festive, but it is just begging to be drank during the holiday season.

What is Orange Wine?

Now first things first, orange wine is NOT made out of oranges. Don’t let the name or colour fool you! It’s more-so a style of white wine. In fact, what makes a wine red or white is the skin contact or lack there of {aka what makes a white wine white}.

To put it bluntly, orange wine is a type of white wine that’s made by aging & fermenting the juice with the grape skins. It’s basically white wine being made like red wine – they have the freshness of whites but the structure of reds.

The extended skin contact will give the wine a rich colour that’s more orange than white, hence the name “orange wine”. Maceration can range from a few days to up to half a year.

Think of it as rosé’s opposite. Rosé is made from red grapes with very brief skin contact which gives the pink colour. Orange wine is made from white with extended skin contact.

Orange wines are full bodied, tannic wines with a colour ranging from a deep yellow to a copper amber depending on the duration of maceration.

In fact, here’s a way you’ll never forget it but Erik has a dirty little joke… “call me orange wine, because there’s about to be a lot of skin contact.” Good luck forgetting that one! HA!

Orange Wine Tasting Notes

Orange wine is one of my absolute favourites. There’s a complexity like no other. In fact, there are some orange wines I just want to bottle up and spray all over me because I just can’t get enough of it, it smells so good!

Orange wines are complex, intense, & bold. Flavour profiles vary from wine to wine, but for the most part they are dry, full bodied with pleasant tannins.

Some flavour profiles you can expect are warm baking spices, orange peel, tropical fruits, hazelnuts, florals, herbaceous notes like juniper, sourdough bread, honeysuckle, dried fruits & nuts… in fact, sometimes it can even smell like grapes {interestingly enough, most wines do not}.

What to pair Orange Wines with

Remember, the best pairings are what YOU like! That said, when it comes to pairing wine with food, pair according to body. A full bodied wine goes well with a steak or stick to your ribs stew where a lighter body wine will go nicely with a crisp salad or a flaky white fish.

Since an orange wine is on the bold side, it holds up really well with bolder cuisines. I love it with Asian & Indian cuisine. Try it with some fatty nigiri {may I suggest toro} with just a kiss of soy sauce! I also personally love to drink it with a steak.

It is a PERFECT Thanksgiving wine since it can hold up to the heavier side dishes, fall spices, and basically any style of meat. In fact, it goes really well with game meats such as venison or duck. If you are serving a cheese & charcuterie plate, serve it with some orange wine to really wow your guests!

I also love finishing a night with it. It makes for a lovely nightcap and pairs verrrrry nicely cozied up to the fire. Trust me on this one.

Some orange wines are more intense / oxidized while some will be on the lighter / fresher side. Pair according to intensity!

What Orange Wine Should I Buy?

They are harder to find – you’ll have to go to your local boutique wine shop vs the grocery store, but the extra trip is worth it! You can also ask your favourite local sommelier where to buy.

My current favourite is the Suriol Xarel-lo from Penedes, Spain – though I can’t seem to find it online. Look for it on a menu! If you are in SF, you can drink it at Parigo in the Marina {FAB PLACE BTW} for $12 a glass!

2 Italian Orange Wines I love {& 2 that introduced me to Orange Wine in 2010) are Paolo Bea ArboreusCoenobium Rusticum

Georgia {the country} is one of the oldest wine making regions in the world & famous for their qvevri/kvevri aged “amber” wines. Qveveris are basically underground clay pots & one of the first vessels used for fermenting wine. Look for Pheasant’s Tears made with the local Rkatsiteli grape 

Here are some California producers making Orange Wine:

» Scholium Project :: Prince in His Caves (Sonoma) – 100% whole cluster, skin fermented Sauvignon Blanc. Lighter in colour, but full bodied with complex acidity.
» Two Shepherds :: Centime – 12 day skin fermented white Rhone varietals: predominately Grenache Blanc with some Marsanne & Roussane. Lighter tannins w/ orange peel & spice tasting notes. They also make a skin fermented Trousseau Gris for their wine club members with only 5 days of skin contact.
» Donkey & Goat :: Grenache Blanc, skin fermented – 100% Grenache Blanc, heavy tannins, full bodied. Producer recommends opening an hour before serving or decanting.
» Ryme Cellars :: “His” Vermentino – 2 week skin contact with 100% vermentino. Tasting notes of florals, herbs & rose water.

Next time you see it on the menu, give it a go & if you do, tag me (@ssscuchard) on your instastories or photos! I’d love to see what you are drinking!

Erik & I are headed back south to L.A. – it’s one of my favourite places to be, I love it there so much! If you have any reccs, you know what to do. We are also DRIVING so any road trip pitstops between SF & LA, let us know! It’s my first time to do this drive.

Happy Monday xx Shannon

Leave a Comment


  1. 11.20.17
    Erika Ravnsborg said:

    Wow! I’ve never heard of an orange wine. Definitely worth a try

  2. 11.20.17
    Beatriz said:

    This sounds so good! I’ll have to try it over the holidays 🙂

    xx Beatriz |

  3. 11.20.17
    Cristina said:

    Orange wine?! This was so cool to read about. Who knew this type of wine existed?



  4. 11.20.17
    Rachel Barter said:

    Omg totally trying this! Sounds so good!

  5. 11.20.17

    Great tips! I had no idea there was such a thing as ORANGE wine but wow it looks like something I would pair for thanksgiving like you said although I will be drinking margaritas on thanksgiving haha Thanks for sharing these tips and a new wine! I cannot wait to try it! Courtney Bentley ||

  6. 11.20.17
    Victoria Medina said:

    This was so fun to read! I had no idea about orange wine and now i MUST try it!

  7. 11.20.17
    Anna Marie Golka said:

    Such an informative, fun post! Can’t wait to try!!

  8. 11.20.17
    Kasie said:

    Ooooooh I want to try orange wine IMMEDIATELY. Yum, yum, yum! I hope you survived the drive down. It can either go smoothly or it can be a LONG HAUL if you hit traffic at the wrong time.

  9. 11.21.17
    Bryan Carey said:

    I have never tried this type of wine. At first, I thought it was wine made from oranges (which actually does sound good!), but now I see what it truly is. Still sounds intriguing

  10. 11.21.17

    I learned something new today about wine – and I’m a big wine fan. I like the orange colour, too! Very fun. Thanks for sharing!

    Heather |

  11. 11.21.17

    I am not a big or even a little wine-o…. But I know enough to know what wine is NOT usually orange. hahaha! But this looks bomb and it’s certainly a way to stand out from “the pack”!

  12. 11.21.17
    Charlene said:

    Omg totally trying this! Sounds amazing!

  13. 11.21.17
    Jenn said:

    Totally have to try this!!!
    – Jenn

  14. 11.21.17
    PossesstheWorld said:

    I am a dedicated follower of wine but have not had the pleasure of an orange wine. I shall be seeking it after reading this. Great information and thanks for all your hard work in researching this post LOL

  15. 11.22.17

    It sounds Interesting!

  16. 11.22.17
    Lisa Bulpin said:

    jeepers, I’ve never heard of orange wine! Is it sweet? Or super dry?

    • 11.24.17

      DRY! They are full bodied, dry, & a tannin structure like what you will find in a red wine. Let me know if you give it a try, Lisa!! xx S

  17. 11.26.17

    How cool! What a beautiful color – interested to try this! I have to look into this! :]